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Full text of "A mad love; the strange story of a musician"

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A MAD LOVE 
THE STRANGE blORY 

OF A 

MUSICIAN 

BY 
FRANK HARRIS 



Published by the Author 
40 Seventh Ave., New York, 1920 



A MAD LOVE 
THE STRANGE STORY OF A 
MUSICIAN 

A little more and how much it is; 

A little less and what worlds ViV72ij.— Browning. 

The scene, Vienna; the time, October in the 
early eighteen nineties. 

I had been studying at the University a couple 
of semesters and had fallen in love with the gay 
good-humored capital. In the Laudonstrasse I 
had two rooms and a bathroom. I put an Oriental 
rug or two in my sitting-room and I had to laugh 
when the maid-servant, the first time she came 
into the room, took off her boots for fear of hurt- 
ing the carpet. It was a symbol to me of the 
contrasts so characteristic of Vienna between the 
primitive simphcity of a peasant folk and the 
stately ceremonial of the Court and extravagant 
luxuries of the nobihty. The many-colored cos- 
mopolitan hf e drew me from my books ; and I'm 
afraid I was a poor student. 

One day, seduced by the beauty of the after- 
noon, I made up my mind to take a long walk. 
I went down the Prater to the river. The great 
drive spread before me, tempting me on. but I 
had started too late; the carriages were all re- 
t^ lining to the city at high speed; night w^as draw- 

1 



F 



A MAD LOVE 



ing clov/n and there v/as a premonition of rain in 
the air. 

I had walked ])erhaps a quarter of a mile be- 
side the river when my attention was dra^^Ti to 
a Schutzmann who had gone over to wake a man 
on one cf the benches. He stood before the hud- 
dled-up figure, speaking to it but getting no an- 
svrer. I paused to see what he would do. He 
said something more, still no reply. Shrugging 
his shoulders he went off unconcernedly with the 
easy-going good-nature of the Viennese. A 
glance showed me a man with a greyish beard 
sleeping heavily. Exchanging a smile of com- 
prehension with the Schutzm.ann, I went on my 
Vv'ay briskh% hoping still to get a walk before it 
rained. 

An hour later a slight wind had arisen, and the 
leaves began to whirl down from the trees and a 
slow drizzle began. The gay scene of the after- 
noon, with the si;arkling river and the stream of 
carriages and well-dressed people, had all van- 
ished, and as I walked back the desolation of the 
autumn evening grew on me. 

As I neared the town I thought of the wastrel 
on the bench, and when I got opposite him I was 
struck by the fact that he did not seem to have 
moved in the meantime: he vvas still huddled up 
ki the corner, with his head on his left arm; I 



A MAD LOVE 



could just distin,^uish the tuft of his beard. 

'MIe'll get wet/' I thought to myseh^ "I had 
better wake him." 

I went over and spoke to him, grasping his 
shoulder. No response; the sleep Vvas too pro- 
found. A vague disquieture cam^ over me. I 
touched his right hand, which v/as lying on his 
knee, and started back; it was cold. Could the 
man be dead? I pushed his leg and ii moved 
with my hand; he was not dead, but sleeping 
the sleep of profound exhaustion. 

I shook himx vigorously, and after a moment 
or two he turned his head and looked at me. 

"Wake up," I said, "you'll catch your death 
of cold here." 

At first he did not ansvrer. His face struck 
me. The eyes looking at me vrere not large, but 
young and unfriendly-keen, a light blue that 
went vsdth his rufus hair and bronzed coip.piexion. 
The beard was reddish-grey and unkempt, but 
at the first glance I noticed liis beaked nose and 
strong, bony jaws: the face of a man of char- 
acter, strong and well-balanced. A small mous- 
tache shadowed the mouth; the lips vrere well- 
cut, sensitive but not sensual. If this man had 
come to grief, I said to myself, it was not through 
fleshly lusts. What could be the cause? 

He was not badly dressed. His hands were 

s 



A MAD LOVE 



clean and cared for. Why did he not speak? 

''It is too cold and vret to sleep here," I at- 
tacked again, "vrake up; you must feel cold 
alread}'." 

"What is that to you?" he said slowly, "leave 
me alone!" 

"I w^as afraid you'd catch cold," I stammered 
in surprise. 

"And if I want to catch an everlasting cold, 
what's that to you?" 

I was nonplussed — the man's language, the 
extraordinary resolution in the toneless voice — 
all staggered me. 

"I happened to touch your hand," I said, "and 
found it cold, so I was afraid you'd get really ill 
sleeping here in the wet." 

"Oh, be damned!" he barked, "I was happily 
unconscious till j^ou called me back to life. What 
possessed you? Couldn't you leave me alone? I 
had left all the misery of living behind ; now it's 
ail to do over again. Go away!" 

"Will you, an educated man," I said, "allow 
yourself to die here of cold like a starved dog? 
Come, man, have another wrestle with fate." 

He did not move, but simply looked at me. "I 
don't want another wrestle," he said, in the same 
slow, toneless voice, "I am more than half-way 

4 



A MAD LOVE 



through. Leave me alone!" 

"You are not half-way throiig-h/' I exclaimed, 
feigning a laugh, "you'll probably get pneu- 
monia and have a dreadful month in the hos- 
pital." 

"I am cold all through already," he said, "I 
have not eaten for a week. Death is at my heart." 

I was young and have more than a grain of 
obstinacy in me ; I could not leave him to die. 

"If I wanted to die," I exclaimed, "I would 
take the pleasantest way out." 

He didn't even answer; his eyes closed as if 
weary! 

I persisted. "I'd go out like an artist, warm 
and happy. I'd meet Death rose-crowned like a 
conqueror." 

His eyes lightened, then his eyebrows went up 
and he made a motion with his hand as if to say: 
"Have it as you will." 

A passing "fiacre" stopped at my lifted hand. 

"Come," I said, "I have a few gulden to 
spare." 

"You will have to carry me," he replied. "I'm 
stiff." 

His immobility struck me. He had not moved 
all the time we had been talking. I put an arm 



A MAD LOVE 



round his vraist and tried to lift him. The driver 
with the ready servability of the Viennese had 
nipped down from his box and now came across 
and ^leJped me; with his aid we got the man into 
the fiacre and I gave the driver my address. 

On the way, my strange companion said noth- 
ing; with shut eyes he leant back in the cab. 
When we got to my lodgings, the Kutscher 
sprang off the box and came to the door. 

''Can I help the gentleman?" 

''I wish you would," I replied, ''it is onlj' two 
flights up." 

In a few minutes we had got the mian into my 
bedroom and put him in an easy chair. 

"Go to the restaurant at the corner," I said to 
the driver, "and get me a bowl of hot soup, will 
5^ou, and some hot water? I have brandy here, 
and wine." 

"Certainly, sir," he said, and hurried off im- 
mediately. 

I got out some warm winter underthings" 
and tried to get my friend's coat off, but found 
it very difficult. I went and got him a glass of 
brandy, but the moment he tried to sv/allow it he- 
spluttered it all out. 

"I'm sorrj^" he apologized, "it's like liquid 
fire." 



A MAD LOVE 



I made it weaker with some water and gave 
it to him again and he got it down, but the real 
help came when the coachman retm^ned with 
some hot soup and bread. I arranged it on a 
little table and the first spoonful brought life 
back to the half -starved man. Meanv/hile the 
coachman busied himself taking off the man's 
boots and putting on a pair of thick socks I 
handed him, and after the soup had taken effect 
we managed to undress him and pack him away 
in the bed. 

"You are all right now/' said the coachman, 
rubbing his hands, "you'll be asleep in five min- 
utes. I wish I had such 'tendance." 

The hint was not lost on me. When paying 
him I gave him a glass of brandy, for which he 
thanked me by calHng me ''Herr Baron!" with 
the instinctive desire to please of the Viennese. 

When he had gone I turned to the bed. 

''I am not inclined to sleep," said my friend* 
"And you don't even know my name." 

*'There is time for all that," I replied. 

''It wouldn't convey anything to you," he said, 
*'nobody knows me here; but my name is Hage- 
dorn — Emanuel Hagedorn." 

''A long sleep will do you good," I said, "if 
you let yourself go, you will soon be asleep. To- 

7 



A MAD LOVE 



morrow is another da^^" 

I took his clothes and boots into my little sit- 
ting-room and closed the door. The boots I 
found were well-made ; the clothes travel-stained, 
but good; they only needed brushing and press- 
ing. Meanwhile I would have to arrange a bed 
for myself in the sitting-room. I went down to 
see the landlady and soon got everything in 
order. 

Suddenly I remembered that I had not eaten, 
so I went out and had a meal at the Ried Hof 
nearby, where I sometimes went when the 
weather was bad. When I came back my bed 
was made up on the sofa and a little wood fire 
was burning on the hearth. 

I listened at the door but heard nothing in the 
bedroom save regular quiet breathing. Reas- 
sured, I went to sleep. In the morning I was up 
early, but I had scarcely moved across the floor 
when I heard sounds in the other room. At al- 
most the same moment the maid knocked, bring 
ing coffee and bread and Hagedorn's clothes; I 
called through the door, ''Good morning!" and 
went on dressing. 

Half an hour later there was a tap at my door 
and Hagerdorn came in quietly — self possessed. 
As I stood up he nodded to me and we were for 
a moment opposite each other. I caught my 

8 



A MAD LOVE 



breath; he was so calm and completely master of 
himself, without a trace of humility; there was 
an air of assured strength about him that was 
imposing. 

I pointed to the armchair near me and said: 
"Won't you sit down? Please throw off cere- 
mony." 

He took the chair at once. 

''How do you feel now?" I asked. 

"Perfectly well," he said, "without a trace of 
cold or even cough ; I never felt better. Fasting 
must be good for one. My head is perfectly 
clear and I am fairty strong." 

"You will be better after a good meal," I re- 
sponded. "Where would you like to dine?" 

"It is a matter of indifference to me," he said. 
"I am in your hands in more senses than one, 
though I must warn you again, sooner or later 
you will recognize that your help and kindness 
have been wasted. You see," he went on, "it was 
not a sudden resolve on my part, but a slowly 
ripening resolution that still holds, though I rec- 
ognize the sense of what you said, that if one 
must kill oneself, one should choose the pleas- 
antest way. Very practical, you English." 

"I am not English," I broke in, "but Celt, and 
not very practical, I fear, but I feel that who- 



A MAD LOVE 



ever wishes to swim can swim." 

He laughed grimly : 

*'Women float almost in spite of themselves,'* 
he said, ''fat hips and small head; they arc only 
pulled down by their clothes — vanity. The ath- 
lete or thinker, head and muscles, goes under 
unless he swims; fat floats." 

"What age are you?" I broke in. The night 
before I thought he was fifty; now he looked 
much younger. 

"iSTot thirty-four," he replied. "You are aston- 
ished. My beard turned grey in the last three 
or four months (he had shaved it off, I noticed) . 
It is hard to make up your mind to leave life ; it 
costs blood!" 

"I don't want even to hear the story yet," I 
said. "I want you to have a couple of days' rest 
and get quite well and strong." 

"As you will," he replied, "but you are 
warned." 

Two or three days passed, and as if by mutual 
consent we kept off the topic that was in both 
our minds. I did not go to the University, but 
instead took long walks with Hagedorn. It hap- 
pened to be beautiful weather, almost like an 
American fall w^ith its bright sunshine but softer, 
gentler skies, and the Viennese were gay and 

10 



A MAD LOVE 



laughter-loving as only Viennese can be. Hage- 
dorn did not talk much, and yet he impressed me 
as a man of real power. We went to the theatre 
almost every night. When I proposed the Opera 
he shook his head. ''I call it the house of prosti- 
tution," he said; "hateful, for it should be a 
Temple." 

''Is it the operatic form you dislike?" I ques- 
tioned, ''or music?" 

"Music is only in its infancy," he remarked 
contemptuously, "and opera is a bastard form." 

"What do you mean by infancy?" I asked. 

He shrugged his shoulders and didn't answer 
for a moment, and then began. 

"Did it never strike you that other arts, arts 
of seeing, like drawing and painting, are univer- 
sal; whereas music, the art of hearing, is merely 
national, or, if you will, European? As soon as 
our artists saw^ Chinese paintings and Chinese 
sculpture they recognized their greatness; Chi- 
nese pottery,, too, ranks above our own. Even 
Japanese color-prints revealed to us new decora- 
tive possibilities; painting is an art with an uni- 
ver^l appeal. But Music! Let a Chinaman 
listen to a Wagner opera or a Beethoven sym- 
phony and he just shrugs his shoulders; it's all 
to him a medley of unpleasant, or at best, mean- 

11 



A MAD LOVE 



ingless noises. Go yourself to hear Japanese 
music and you will find nothing in it that appeals 
to you. Music as yet is in its infancy and I don't 
care to listen to the babbling." 

This was not the first time the man had sur- 
prised me with new^ thoughts. As he sat there, 
turned sideways in indifference, his face, I 
thought, had the carved outlines and color of a 
Venetian bronze. Every hour he interested me 
more; he had taste in food and wine, I noticed, 
and the manners of a great gentleman; he was 
surely ''someone," as the French say. 

A few days later we went to an open-air res- 
taurant outside the town, and after a good meal 
sat talking ; or, rather, I talked about writing and 
writers, in doubt whether I should ever do any- 
thing worth while. 

Suddenly Hagedorn broke out : 

''Why put off the day of reckoning? I could 
not be better than I am, and you ought to know 
how hopeless this rescue work of yours is ? I may 
even be able to do you some good, show you how 
foolish the whole struggle of life is, especially for 
the artist." 

Full of curiosity^ I acquiesced. 

"Let us walk back and talk it over," I said. 
And back we went to my rooms. 

19 



A MAD LOVE 



He took a cigar and I lit a cigarette, and we 
sat opposite each other for what I felt was going 
to be an interesting talk, for in this week or so 
of intimacy Hagedorn had made a profound im- 
pression on me; his casual remarks were often 
original, indeed curiously provocative and stim- 
ulating. He was a f ew^ years older than I, but he 
had the air of being much older, much more ex- 
perienced. He had evidently drunk deep of life; 
I had barely sipped the cup ; yet I resented a ht- 
tle the sort of authority that sat naturally upon 
him. 

"I want to tell j^ou the whole story," he began, 
"because you'll understand it. I am an artist and 
you are training yourself to be an artist in words. 
It is we artists who come to the w^orst grief, not 
because we are weak, as the Philistines imagine, 
but because our burden is intolerably heavy — 
heavy, I often think, in proportion to our gifts." 

''What do you mean?" I exclaimed. ''The 
burden should surely be light, if the gifts are 
great." 

He shrugged his eyebrows in a way he had of 
indicating polite tolerance of my ignorance. 

"You will hear," he said. 

"There are to my mind tw^o sorts of artists. 
The best artists are great men first and artists 

13 



A MAD LOVE 



afterwards. You may have noticed that I did 
not agree when you spoke of Beethoven and 
Wagner in the conventional way. These men are 
both great because thej^ were great men, not be- 
cause they're great musicians. Wagner would 
have been, in my opinion, an even greater writer 
than musician, if he had given himself to liter- 
ature. His early libretti are finer than his music. 
''Then you have an artist like Franz Hals, who 
is a born painter, or Watteau; his very colors 
please you like a child's smile; there is joy and 
beauty in the mere tints. Everyone can see that 
Watteau is infinitely more gifted as a painter 
than Rembrandt; Rembrandt carries it because 
he was the greater man." 

''How are you so sure he was the greater 
man?" I asked. Where do you find the short- 
coming in Watteau?" 

Hagedorn paused for a moment, then began. 
"Do you know his 'Embarquement pour Cy- 
there' in the Louvre?' 

I nodded, and he went on: 

"You have the advantage of me. I have only 
seen a print ; but the motive is that couples in love 
are going to sail to the Isle of Venus. The first 
couples are away up on a hill in the right-hand 
comer of the canvas; then to the left of them 

14 



A MAD LOVE 



other pairs, and finally down by the water's edge 
on the lower left side, the boat. But the proces- 
sion should have started from the left-hand top 
corner and gone down to the right; our eyes, 
probably through reading, move more easily 
from left to right. Had Watteau thought over 
the matter he could not have made such a blun- 
der in construction. The brain-work in Rem- 
brandt is far higher." 

"Of course, of course!" I cried. "A fair 
illustration." 

Hagedorn went on. "I often think a great 
painter should be able to paint a wonderful pic- 
ture by merely putting different colors on a can- 
vas without any representment of reality or like- 
ness to the actual." 

''Then you're a painter," I cried. 

"No, no!" he said, "I'm nothing. I was a mu- 
sician with an extraordinary gift. Whether I 
had any greatness in me, you will be able to 
judge better than most; but I came to believe 
that I had. 

"My father was a Kapellmeister in Salzburg; 
pure German, I believe. My mother was a singer 
who lost her voice with me, her first child. She 
must have been a Jewess, I think, but I never 
saw a pair that loved and lived in such unison as 
my father and mother. No one could have had 

15 



A MAD LOVE 



a happier childhood than I. When I was six or 
seven they found out I had a wonderful ear, and 
they tried to keep me away from music. ]My 
father had a dread of precocity and infant prodi- 
gies. He always said that JNIozart would have 
lived much longer and done much better work if 
he had not begun so earh\ He used to condemn 
our practice of starting race-horses at two years 
of age; he thought if we started them at five or 
six we should have better horses. And I dare 
say he was right. He had brains, my father, 
and my mother agreed with him in everything 
and always did what he wished. 

"They sent me to school, and school was easy 
for me. I Jiad a fluick, retentive memory and 
learned without trouble. I tell you all this not 
to praise myself, but to make you understand the 
tragedy. Then I got to know a shoemaker 
who lived near us who had a violin, and I used to 
go round and play with him. I don't know^ how 
I learnt, but I did. One day my father, -who had 
been first violin in the orchestra at the Opera, 
took out his violin and played for us, I forget 
what. I was about ten. I took the violin from 
him and began to play. You should have seen 
his surpri:^ and my mother's pride, and my own 
gratified conceit. I shall never forget that day! 
But Fate hates the favorites of Fortune ! 

16 



A MAD LOVE 



_ ''After that they set me free. My father was 
dehg-hted to teach me instrument after instru- 
ment, and I learnt three or four, including the 
'cello and the piano." 

"Do you know four instruments?" I broke in. 

*'I can play any instrument," he said carelessly. 

'*Good God!" I exclaimed, ''and you found it 
difficult to make a living?" 

"Xo, no!" he cried. "I never said that. I've 
found it difficult to live, but I never had any dif- 
ficulty in making a living. It's our dreams kill 
us. It is the heaven we see before us and cannot 
realize, or the Paradise we've been driven out of 
that makes life disgusting to us and kills us. We 
artists die of our dreams as of the plague." 

''I do not understand," I said. "Go on, 
please." 

"Let me come to the point at once," he said. 

"I am one of the few persons born with an 
ear for music; there are not three in a genera- 
tion; I've never met another. You don't know 
why or how Bach arranged his 'wohl temperirtes 
Clavier/ do you? (I shook my head.) It would 
take too long to explain; but the piano is still 
imperfect. Take C sharp and D flat. They 
both sound the same to you; but C sharp is 
twelve vibrations faster than D flat. I can hear 
them; anyone can hear the difference on the vio- 

17 



A MAD LOVE 



lin. The violin can give you the true note ; the 
piano doesn't; that's why a great vioHnist is 
often out of pitch with an orchestra, and why 
the only good music is that of a string-quar- 
tette." ^ 

"But you/' I cried, ''can you hear all that?" 
*'I have absolute pitch," he replied. ''You do 
not know what that means. It means that be- 
tween two notes that succeed each other you hear 
only an interval. I know myriads of tones be- 
tween them. Our musical notation is all imper- 
fect. 

"Xow, wtiat does this imply? The painter is 
able to give you an idea of any living thing at 
once in three or four strokes. He can show you 
the difference between a woman's figure and a 
man's; between a cow and a buffalo; between a 
lion and a tiger. He can represent anything he 
sees : why can't the musician represent anything 
he hears? Why isn't he able to give you the 
songs of birds, the sound of the wind in the trees, 
the long withdrawn rustle of the tide ebbing on 
a beach? Because music is a half-art, and the 
sounds in Xature are infinitely too complex for 
our silly scales." 

''But did not Wagner give us a storm at sea in 
'Der Fliegende Hollander?' and what of the 
Waldvogel in 'Siegfried?' " I asked. 

18 



A MAD LOVE 



Hag-edorn laughed scornfully: "Talk to me 
of that storm; it's childish, and the Waldvogell 
Why not ask a painter to paint the woodbeast? 
He'd ask you, "Which one, squirrel or bear? The 
woodbird is just as ridiculous." Wagner had 
to use a flute for his bird's note, simply because 
there is a sort of surface likeness between a black- 
bird's song and a flute, but the violin can give 
the tone much better if he had only known it. 
Don't let us talk of Wagner as a musician! 

"Mascagni tried to give the nightingale in 
Parisina; the song went on for forty-five min- 
utes and was intolerably bad ; they had to cut out 
the bird. I ga^je that opera the name it's kno^vn 
by now in Italy, 'Opera a forbici — the opera 
with the scissors'. Do you remember 'The Cre- 
ation,' b^^ Haydn, and the beasts in it? Isn't that 
imitation ridiculous?" 

I nodded. 

"But can you render the nightingale's song?" 
I probed. 

He bowed his head: "So that any nightingale 
near will answer me at once, even in broad dav- 
light." 

"Good God!" I cried in utter astonishment. 

"I can give you the music of the wind in the 
trees, too," he went on, "or of the sea in storm 
or calm; I can imitate whatever I hear, exactly 

w 



A MAD LOVE 



as a draughtsman-artist can reproduce any form 
or any scene at will." 

"What a gift!" I cried again. 

Hagedorn shrugged his shoulders. "That's 
the alphabet of my art; but the gift made me 
infinitely conceited, and was one cause of my 
undoing. 

"My parents got so proud of me that they 
humored me in everything. I began to appear at 
concerts and to show off. jMy father did all he 
could to hold me back; he kept me on at school 
till I was about fourteen, but I would not hear 
of the University. I did not go through even 
the top classes in the gymnasium. Life tempted 
me terribly and lessons were intolerable to one 
who had tasted the heady wine of applause from 
great audiences. Girls sought me out like moths 
seek a light, and I was eager to meet them. I 
got into life too early, and drank too deep with 
that desperate, unquenchable thirst of youth. I 
took double mouthf uls, as the French say. . . . 

"The onh^ thing except making love and kiss- 
ing I would practice was my violin, unless, of 
course, I was learning some new instrument; 
but that was part of my showing-off. I really 
had only to conquer the little technical difficul- 
ties peculiar to each instrument, and almost at 
once I was master of it. I knew its weaknesses 



A MAD LOVE 



and its powers by instinct, and soon got to the 
end of them. But a violin — if you get a good 
one — has hardly any limitations; its virtues are 
yours and its shortcomings yours " 

'*I would give anything to hear you play," I 
exclaimed. ''We must get a violin. But, I can- 
not afford a Stradivarius," I added lugubriously, 
''I am quite poor." 

I'A Stradivarius is not needed," he replied. "I 
can find a violin as good as any Strad. here in 
Vienna in a week; the best things have few 
lovers." 

"What would such a violin cost?" I asked. 

"Oh! anywhere from fifty to two hundred 
kronen; it's a matter of chance; I may not find 
one in a month." 

"I will let 3^ou have the money," I said. "I 
want to hear you play so much. But w^eren't 
you in request everywhere; weren't you tempted 
at every moment by big offers?" 

"I was in Paris playing on my own hook," he 
replied, "with an apartment on the Grand Boule- 
vard before I was seventeen. That same summer 
I played at the Albert Hall in London. I do 
not need to tell you w^hat my novi de theatre was. 
It's better forgotten. Gifts don't matter; it is by 
the soul alone we count." 

91 



A MAD LO\^E 



''But how did you come to grief?" I asked. 
'*You had eveiything: health, strength, fine pres- 
ence, extraordinary talent; eminence in an art 
while still a youth. What brought you to 
despair?" 

''Looking back," he said, "it seems to me that 
a good many causes combined over several years ; 
but I would prefer, if you are content, to let you 
find out for yourself. The forces are all there 
still; they are operating now as before, but I 
think you ought to be convinced first that I am 
not bragging or extolling my powers unduly. ^If 
you'll buy me a violin, j^ou'll always get your 
money back for it, and a few days' practice will 
make it easy for me to show you what I can do." 

I gave him the money that same day, and for 
nearly a week afterwards scarcely saw him, ex- 
cept at an occasional meal ; then he appeared with 
a violin. 

"Fortune favored me," he said. "I've got an 
. Amatis — ^as good an instrument as one could wish 
to have; luck has always been with me. Xow if 
you are going regularly to your lectures, I will 
practice here every morning, and you can make 
SJiy arrangements you like for hearing me play, 
say, on Tuesday week, and I will try to show you 
that you did not help a wastrel." 

Having started as a journalist in the States, 

22 



A MAD LOVE 



I had formed connections with some newspapers 
in Vienna and got to know a good many critics. 
Since meeting Hagedorn I had talked to two or 
three of my journalist friends about him, and 
now I told them of his extraordinary powers and 
got them all intensely interested. I issued invi- 
tations for the next Tuesday afternoon, and be- 
sought all the journalists I knew to bring any 
real critics with them. They all told me they 
would turn up, and one in particular, the best 
writer on a musical weekly, declared he would 
have a great surprise for us ; he would bring one 
of the greatest artists in the world to hear my 
friend. I could not help going in and reading 
his cordial, kindly letter to Hagedorn, hoj^ing it 
would excite him and nerve him to do his very 
best. He listened to me reading the letter and 
then said: 

''I am glad for you, my friend; your probation 
won't be long." 

*'But you don't see!" I exclaimed. 'Tf this 
great musician takes you up, swears you are 
extraordinary^ anything, everything may come 
to pass." 

He shook his head. 'Tt is not a cancer spot 
you can cut out," he said, "or a sore to cure. But 
I shall be ready. You'll see. Only do not let 
them see me or meet me. Keep them in the other 
room." 



A MAD LOVE 



I was a little surprised, but I arranged chain 
in my sitting-room so as to seat about twenty -five 
or thirty people. 

When thf great afternoon came I was in- 
tensely excited. The room was crowded — forty 
people instead of twenty-five, and all on tiptoe of 
expectance. Suddenly the musical critic entered, 
bringing with him Joachim. 

''I don't need to introduce Joachim to you," he 
said, ''the greatest violin player in the world." 

Of course, I insisted on his taking the seat of 
honor, and I could not help sneaking into the 
back room to tell Hagedorn that Joachim had 
come to hear him. He smiled, but his eyes were 
sad, and I returned a little chilled. He had given 
me the outline of the program, and it ran some- 
thing like this: 

1. A young nightingale learning to sing. 

2. A nightingale after he has found his love. 

3. How he should sing. 

4. A Comment on I^ife. 

I announced the first three, and we all sat down 
to listen in strained attention. After a little 
pause the nightingale's notes began to fail like 
golden beads. At the first break in the voice — 
extraordinarily hfelike — I saw Joachim start, 

24 



A MAD LOVE 



and from that moment I knew Hagedorn had 
conquered. There was a hush when he stopped 
playing", and after a moment, quiet applause — 
I had almost said reverent applause — silenced 
almost immediately by new notes that rang out 
in a song of desire and joy. 

Words cannot describe such sounds; at least I 
have no words to describe them. I can be excused 
for not attempting a task beyond Shelley's powd- 
ers. But as the music ceased, Joachim jumped 
to his feet and silenced the clapping: 

''Xo applause," he said, "let us hear the next; 
it is most astonishing." j 

A moment or two later the next song began — • i 
what the nightingale should sing. It went from ' 
panting desire to throbs of joy, and from joy to 
triumph, and then came broken wailing notes 
caught up now and then with faint reminders of 
the love-ecstasy. Then — abruptly — silence. 
Joachim started to his feet again. 

''He is not onlj^ a great master of the violin," 
he said, "but a great, great musician. Who is 
he? Please let me meet him." i 

I stood between him and the door and told him ' 
that nw friend did not w^nt to be known. The 
surprise, the admiration of all was manifest. 
Everyone declared that the performance was ^ 
v/onderful, epoch-making. One after the other 

9S 



A MAD LOVE 



found new words with which to praise the un- 
known master. 

Suddenly Hagedorn began to play again. T 
announced ''A Comment on Life!" In absolute 
silence everj^one began to listen. 

What was he playing? It was all light and 
gay and hopeful, like a spring morning, the joy 
mounting rapidly to passion and delight; higher 
still to rapture, and then — idiot laughter tore the 
air! A phantasmagoria began of all sorts of 
emotions mixed together — joy and pleasure 
broken by dreadful, meaningless chucklings; 
moanings and imprecations shrilled to shrieks 
and ravings, only to die awaj^ in ghastly mutter- 
ings. We looked at each other; plainly the mu- 
sician was depicting a mad-house. Exquisite 
moments of joy and sighs of pleasure, ending in 
howls of rage and ear-piercing screams — appall- 
ing! Then a heavy silence! 

Xo one applauded. I looked up. Joachim 
was shaking his head. 

''Dreadful! Dreadfully painful," he said, 
''Art must not give itself to pain. What a pit)^ 
A most remarkable mastery. What a pity!" and 
he hurried from the roQm, Xo wish to meet 
Hagedorn now. The men vanished as quickly 
as they had come. One alone remained, A young 
fellow I had scarcely noticed, a critic on a dailj" 

26 



A MAD LOVE 



paper, since famous, then just beginning to be 
known. 

''Great work!" he cried to me. ''Let them all 
go. I have Kstened to the greatest violinist I 
ever expect to hear; greater than Joachim, 
greater than anyone; a great original master; I 
must meet him! 

"Come and dine tonight and I will see if I can 
bring him," I said. 

"Tell him from me," said the young man, "that 
I am on my knees before him. He is a great, 
great man — astounding!" 

"S^^hen he had gone I hurried into the next 
room to see Hagedorn. He had laid his violin on 
the bed and was seated in the armchair. 

"You heard," I said. 

"Everything. Your Joachim was character- 
istic: true to type, as I knew he would be. The 
imitations pleased him ; my master\^ of the instru- 
ment even. He has some greatness in him; but 
the moment I showed him a little more than he 
was prepared for — revolt, resentment — 'Art was 
not made,' if you please, 'to give itself to pain.' " 
Instead of a mad-house I ought to have g^iven 
them a Jew Jeweller's Heaven w^th golden 
streets and pearly gates — a childish ^dsion of a 
tawdry Paradise. But, I hope you are satisfied, 

9t 



A MAD LOVE 



my friend?" 

"More than satisfied/' I replied. ''Satisfied 
that everything you have told me about yourself 
and your art is true; that you are the greatest 
musician I have ever heard or expect to hear. I 
believe you are a ^reat man, too, and I am infin- 
itely sorry for you. You heard what young 
Neumann said. Do you expect, out of forty 
fools, to get more than two to see you as you are? 
I think this is the only city in the world in which 
you could find two enthusiastic admirers!" 

He put his hands on my shoulders. 

''You are a great boy," he said, "and if any- 
body could help me, you would; but it's too late, 
if indeed it were ever possible." 

That night young Xeumann came to dinner, 
and Hagedorn allowed me to introduce him as 
the violinist. Xeumann said everything I have 
said here, and said it at far greater length and 
better, or at least more enthusiastically. He ad- 
mitted with gay laughter that if he had only 
heard the mad-house thing he would not have 
come back for more, but he declared that it sea- 
soned the nightingale's songs and formed the 
most perfect contrast to them. 

"I want you to play me the thing in all music 
I love best," he said to Hagedorn. "It's the song 
of " 

98 



A MAD LOVE 



''Stopl" cried Hagedorn. ''Don't say another 
word; don't tell me what it is." And he went 
into the inner room and began to play. 

"He has guessed right/' said Neumann, as the 
strains floated through the room. And for a 
wonderful quarter of an hour we listened to the 
love duet in the second act of Tristan, marvel- 
lously rendered, perfectly, so that expectation 
was surpassed, desire sated. 

When he came into the room again JNTeumann 
took his hands, with tears in his eyes, and said 
simply : 

''I cannot thank you. Words are nothing." 

'Xet us go and dine," I said, and we went out 
together. But during dinner we were all very 
silent. There did not seem much to say, and 
when we returned to the house and ISTeumann 
left us at the door, I could only say to Hagedorn : 

"It has been a great day for me, a great day." 

He nodded and went into his bedroom with- 
out a word, but I noticed now that his face had 
something Sphinx-like in it; it was as if carved 
in stone to endurance. 

The next morning Neumann called, just as 
the coffee came. 

"I have been up all night," he said, "utterly 
unable to sleep. I could scarcely wait till it was 

99 



A MAD LOVE 



eio^it o'clock so that I mio^ht come round and say 
that I put myself at your service. Whatever I 
can do in Vienna I will do. You ought to have 
been known ten years a^j'o from one end of the 
world to the other. Give me the chance of telling 
Vienna who you are and of showing them w^hat 
you can do." 

Hagedorn smiled. /'It is really kind of you," 
he said. "Talk it over with my friend here and 
decide whatever you please." 

''We must give a series of concerts," cried 
Neumann in wild excitement; ''subscription con- 
certs, half a dozen or a dozen, in a large hall, but 
not too large. I know the ver\^ place. We will 
put the price high and every seat will be filled, 
and after the first concert every ticket will be 
worth fifty times its weight in gold. I know 
Vienna. It is not deaf to genius. I feel sure of 
a triumph." 

"Xot a dozen concerts," interrupted Hage- 
dorn. "Say three, if you like." 

''I want a crescendo effect," argued Xeumann. 
"Please give me six concerts and write the pro- 
grams. I am sure you can do anything you w^ant 
to. Pick the musicians you care to honor and 
give their little-known pieces. Only play one or 
two of your own things in each concert. Match 
yourself with the greatest. I tell you, man, it 

so 



A MAD LOVE 



will be a triumph!" 

It was good to hear him. That was what I 
felt, too. Surely, surely it was possible to save 
such an extraordinary^ genius. 

We soon found that our task was going to be 
an easy one. Xeumann got the hall and Hage- 
dorn gave me the programs for three concerts. 
He had headed them: ''Old Masters; Modem 
Masters; The Future." Xeumann begged for 
more, but he shook his head. 

''I want to repav my friend here," he said. 
"That's aU." 

Xeumann declared that with six concerts w^e 
would make fifty thousand kronen — a sima far 
bej^ond our hopes or wishes — but he begged so 
hard that at length Hagedorn consented. I did 
not interfere with a word. I had already grown 
doubtful of my right to interfere: ''The heart 
knoTveth its own bitterness/' 

Finally they settled on four concerts. I could 
scarcely wait for the first one. At Xeumann's 
request Hagedorn had made the programs very 
long. He began by playing some well-know^n 
things from Bach, and insisted on playing them 
on the instrument for which they were intended 
— the harpsichord. In his hands the little tin- 
kling instrument became a wonder, and for the 
first time in my life a fugue of Bach showed itself 

# 31 



A MAD LOVE 



as an exquisite thing', a jewel as beautiful as a 
sonnet of Wordsworth — divine music, impec- 
cabh" perfect. 

Then he played Beethoven's Sonata in B flat: 
we all had heard it ag-ain and again. I had 
never realized it was so wonderful. Then Mozart, 
grace and sweetness and joy incarnate. 

And then Wagner; the famous passage in the 
3Ieistersinger that is, after all, the great egotist's 
own trial and supreme triumph. 

They were all rendered as I have never heard 
them rendered before or since, and the audience 
was enthusiastic as only a Viennese audience can 
be. For ten minutes the whole program was in- 
terrupted while men stood on their chairs and 
w^omen clustered together like a flock of doves in 
front of the platform applauding, laughing, 
chattering, ciying. Really, they seemed to 
know how great a man he was. 

When the women began to crowd into the 
aisle Hagedorn left the stage. He had insisted 
upon not even giving his name ; the concert was 
given by ''a musician." Only Xeumann and I 
were on the stage, and I went out with Hage- 
dorn. 

A^Tien the tumult subsided he came in again 
and began to play on the violin. First a fugue 
almost like Bach's, but better. Tlien he gave us 

39 



A MAD LOVE 



imitations of all the masters, more beautiful than 
the originals. Then a pause, and he began a 
lark's song. Just a lark's song some summer 
morning on a sun-bathed down or upland. What 
a song! The soul of joj^ was in it; it was simply 
irresistible. When he had finished and had bowed 
and walked off the stage, the audience went mad. 
In two minytes they had crowded on to the stage. 
They must see him and speak to him. But when 
I went out to get him I found he had left the 
theatre. I went back and told the people that it 
was impossible to find him. The afternoon papers 
told us that the price of the remaining seats for 
the next three concerts had trebled. Neumann 
was more than delighted. 

'Let me see him," he cried. 

''Go and find him," I said. "You may have 
more influence with him than I have. I want 
him encouraged." 

"Encouraged!" exclaimed Neumann. "He 
must need a lot of encouragement if such appre- 
ciation is not enough for him," and away he 
went. 

When I got home I found Hagedorn had not 
yet returned. He came in about half-past six 
quietly, and we went out to dinner. I had never 
known him more depressed. 

"All this enthusiasm has made no difference to 

33 



A MAD LOVE 



you?" I asked. 

He sliook his head, and his e^^ebrows went up. 

"The price of the seats has trebled," I went on. 

He shruo'^ed his shoulders. 

"But why, why are you so hopeless?" I cried. 
"Neumann says he has never seen such enthu- 
siasm. The director of the Opera House has 
written to him, asking for your name and ad- 
dress^ It seems his wife and daughter were in 
the audience and are wild with admiration." 

Hagedorn shook his head. 'TVe had it all be- 
fore," he said, "ten years and more ago. Praise 
does not satisfy the heart, ni}" friend. Life to 
me is like an obscene monkeys' cage: I could 
give you the gibberings and scratchings, the 
rages and sensualities; but what good would it 
aU do? . . . 

"When I was able to take life seriously, able 
to hope and enjoy, I failed; the audiences never 
wanted the best in me, never; but the imitations 
and childish things. I went on, in spite of the 
growing conviction that I was born out of dvie 
time. Five hundred years hence someone will 
come who will do my w^ork, and find perhaps half 
a dozen who know him and want him ; today it is 
too soon, and I have no wish to encourage or help 
men; I'm sick of them and their sordid squalor 
and soulless stupidity. 

54 



A MAD LOVE 



''Life tests all of us to breaking-point," he 
went on, after a long silence. "I know now that 
the road I trod, is the upward road and has been 
travelled by all who grow. The higher we climb 
in this world's esteem the heavier our fall. You 
remember the text in the Bible^ Those whom He 
loveth He chasteneth. It is so true, that; divinely 
true. Those whom He loveth He chasteneth, 
continually, perpetually, without let-up, to the 
very limit of their endurance. To those whom 
He hates He gives everything, lavishly and then 
the fall is — fatal. 'Twas here in Vienna I met 
my Fate: you may as well hear the whole story 
now though it's not worth the telling. 

''I used to send my mother newspaper clip- 
pings of my triumphs, and for one reason or an- 
other, she was always calling me back to her, al- 
ways wanting me near her. Her mother's heart 
was full of apprehension; perfect love is one with 
fear. Well, I came back to her more than once 
to rest and recruit. But I no longer shared their 
religious belief (my mother had long before ac- 
cepted my father's Lutheranism, and that made 
a coolness. Besides, the hope of the ideal al- 
ways tempted me away again, and a year or so 
later I would return again to see her and to 
brag. 

When I was about twenty-two or three I stayed 

35 



A MAD LOVE 



away some years — a foolish, light love affair in 
, Paris that ripened me — but again I returned 
just before I was twenty-six with two hundred 
thousand gulden in the bank. I was rich : I loved 
horses and drove them in the Prater where you 
found me! drove them tandem, drove four-in- 
hand, and generally had a pretty girl beside me 
on the box seat. 

"When I went to the Opera I used to go be- 
hind the scenes and brag to my heart's content- 
With that charming humor of the Viennese they 
would push me on the stage to play something in 
the middle of an Opera. No one could have been 
more favored than I: and then without warning 
— my Fate. 

''One evening I was at a loose end. I did not 
know w^hat to do with myself or where to go. I 
had just got rid of a girl who was plaguing me 
with her love which I had tired of; it was too 
H complete, had no limit, no sparkle ; nothing bores 
like meek adoration. 

I had been dining at a restaurant in the Ring- 
strasse when a couple of men came up to me,, 
one a journalist named Goldescu, and the other 
a musical critic on some paper, I forget his name. 
They were wild to take me to see a dancer — ''as 
^ great a dancer," Goldescu said, "as you are a 
musician. She will be on to-night for half an 

36 



A MAD LOVE 



hour." 

*'I had nothing to do and nothing better to 
propose, so I went with them. It was a httle 
restaurant in the Rumanian quarter — a cellar 
in fact, long, low and no doubt dark in the day- 
time. We went down a dozen steps to it. A 
crowd of common people sat about drinking the 
sour Roumanian wine, Dragasan. The first 
phrase I heard was ''Datche me vin/' — almost 
pure Latin. Roumania was a Roman colony 
under Trajan. 

The proprietor played the Rumanian national 
instrument, the Ivobza, a sort of cross between 
the guitar and mandolin, and as I got accus- 
tomed to the smoke I saw that there was a low 
stage at the far end of the room. It might have 
been six or eight feet deep and perhaps a foot 
high, with a green baize curtain in front of it. No 
pretense of footlights except two gas jets in the 
corners and one in the middle. 

I could not drink the common wine but the 
proprietor began to treat us with a good deal 
of politeness and soon brought me a Tokai w^hich 
was excellent — one of the great wines of the 
world. 

My friends talked. Goldescu was a clever fel- 
low and interested me perhaps because he was of 
a different race, and too cynical even to believe 

S7 



A MAD LOVE 



in virtue, much less seek it. 

After trying to eat one of their strange salads 
I asked when the show was going to begin and 
the proprietor told me he would bring Marie on 
as soon as he could, but she did not usually ap- 
pear till eleven o'clock. There was a comic singer 
who bored me to extinction and then the proprie- 
tor came out beaming: "She has come and will 
appear immediately." 

I drew my chair clear of the table so as to have 
an uninterrupted view down the middle of the 
room. The curtains were drawn aside and we 
saw a small girlish figure on the stage ; Goldescu 
had said something about her being a Jewess ; but 
she was not of the Je\^dsh type, I thought. Hei^- 
nose was small and straight; true, her eyes were 
large and dark and her hair black; but her lips 
too, were refined and pretty; and with a certain 
sense of color contrast she had thrown yellow^ 
veils about her. She was just pretty, I conclud- 
ed; very pretty even, but nothing more. I had 
seen more beautiful women but — there was some- 
thing provocative-intense about her, besides a 
dainty aloofness and self-possession. 

''The music began — a sort of slow, vague 
theme, and Marie began to dance; at first very 
slowly, gracefully, and as she danced she discard- 
ed veil after veil. The music took on character. I 

38 



A MAD LOVE 



began to see that it was a sort of representation 
of love, such a theme as you might witness any- 
evening at the Opera, only there was no pirouet- 
ting here, or fast little runs and poisings on a toe ; 
nothing acrobatic; simply at first lithe swayings, 
hesitations and refusals — reserve apparent always 
and a sort of fugitive grace; then the yielding , 
little by little, the figure growing clearer and | 
clearer as the veils went, till she stood outlined 
before us, and reached complete abandonment by 
ainking down and backward on the stage with 
outstretched arms while the curtains drew to- 
gether shutting her off. 

"It was charming, graceful, clothed with 
beauty and the modest}^ of art. The applause 
was tremendous ; they called for the dance again 
and again, but no one came. We called too, 
and applauded loudly, insistently; at length the 
proprietor went behind the scenes but came back 
disconsolate. 'Marie refused to do anything more 
or to come out. She would bow to the audience 
when she was dressed and that was all. 

"I don't know how^ it was, but the simplicity of 
her methods ^<^rew upon me. She was a real art- 
ist; her form more perfect even than her face. 
For some reason or other, in my Uebermuth 
(I was very arrogant) I thought I would bring 
her out, so I went over and took a violin from one 

S9 



A MAD LOVE 



of the musicians. The proprietor divining my 
intention, drew the curtains aside and I stepped 
on the stage and began to play. I first played 
some imitations of birds and then a love impro- 
visation giving the spirit of her dancing. I had 
never played better. Stll she did not appear. I 
put down the instrument and went off with my 
friends, content never to see the place again or 
the little Roumanian girl. 

''The days passed into weeks ; it annoyed me to 
realize that I could not forget the dancer or blot 
her frqm memory. Often I asked myself: wliat 
was the secret of her influence; why did she live 
with me when more beautiful women were quick- 
ly forgotten? I could never find an answer. 
Time and again I was on the point of asking 
Goldescu to bring about a meeting and introduce 
me; but I disliked the cynical effronteiy of the 
fellow and hated even to think of him in connec- 
tion with ]Marie's reserved beauty and charm. 

''One day I met him walking with a girl. I saw 
the grace of her before I recognized who it was, 
and from some way off I noticed how people 
turned to look at her. When Goldescu intro- 
duced us she exclaimed: 

"I hope you don't mind my disappearing the 
other evening. If you had stopped after your 
imitation of the lark I would have come out to 

40 



A MAD LOVE 



meet you. I wanted to tell you how wonderful 
that bird's song* was; but you rendered the very 
soul of my dancing with your music and that 
broke me all up. I could not come out in that 
bouge with red eyes." 

''Very human, these artists," cried Goldesew 
in a comic voice, and we both had to smile. 

''He's an artist," she said, "but I'm only a half- 
artist, an executant, my body's my instrument ; it 
happens to be a ^ood one, but if it were a poor 
one, I could do nothing; whereas he doesn't de- 
pend on the instrument at all; his art is in hi« 
soul." 

"Charming of you," I protested, "but unjust to 
yoursflf . You rendered love delightfully. 'Twa« 
like the Cherubino of Mozart ; a quality of youth 
in it, of freshness and a hint of mature passion 
as w^ell — an entrancing mixture." 

She flushed slightly. "You don't know how 
good it is to be praised by j^ou," she said simply, 
giving me her eyes. "If I could be deceived 
about mvself your praise would do it, but — 
but—" 

"What does the 'but' mean?" I asked. She 
pouted. "We women always want perfection; 
don't })raise me then. I am curious about you. 
You carry one's soul away by your playing, but 
who are you, you? You seem too young to have 



A MAD LOVE 



climbed the hei^sfhts." 

''Age is not a matter of jxars," I replied. "I'm 
as old as Time.*' 

''A great phrase," she cried, deiighiedly, ''and 
true; oh, if only — " 

''If you two want to make love," Goldescu in- 
terrupted, "why select the street?" 

She shrank at that ; so I raised my hat and said : 
"Please let me know where vou dance next and 
I'll come." 

"I went; her eyes told me she understood that 
I could not bear our feeling to be cheapened by 
the Jew's appraisement. 

"I've tried to give you a true impression of that 
first meeting," said Hagedorn, "but I've failed. 
It was all very simple and I've made it sound 
high-falutin'. I'm not an artist in words, j^ou 
see. But to me she was a revelation, a miracle 
of frankness, sympathy, — charm — 

"But ten minutes after I left her I could not 
help wondering why she went about with that 
Jew; what was the attraction, the connection? 
Fishy, it seemed to me; for I knew him, knew 
that no good thing could live in his atmosphere. 
I ought to tell you about him but I can't. I'm 
conscious I'm not fair to him; no human being 
could be as vile, sordid, soulless, unscrupulous, 

4^ 



A MAD LOVE 



cruel and vain as I knew him to be. I've heard 
him boast of things an assassin would be ashamed 
of. Yet he was big* and handsome in a common 
style, a good writer, a good actor, too, and always 
carried himself with an assured mastery in life. 
He always held the floor wherever he was. I re- 
member his saying once he could always borrow 
money from the worldly-wise by saying: "Give 
me a hundred gulden; I don't promise ever to 
pay you back. You should be willing to pay for 
my society"; and from greenhorns W insisting 
it was a loan to be returned next day. The 
funny part of it was, he said, that a second loan 
was always easier to get than the first; humans 
hated to confess even to themselves that they 
had been fooled. And he believed as little in 
woman's virtue as in man's generosity. 

"Their refusals," he used to say, "are all either 
coldness or calculation. Choose the right mo- 
ment and — 

"And your mother?" some one retorted one 
evening. 

"My race tells 3^ou," he responded, 

A common nature and mind sharpened by life. 

\^^hen we walked together a dozen girls gave 
him the glad eye for one who noticed me. Don't 
think I was envious of his gifts or looks; I never 
v/as envious in my life. But though he sought me 

4S 



A MAD LOVE 



out I had avoided him always till I found bina 

with Marie. 

Two or three daj^s after that meeting on the 
street he sent me a ''wire" to say he'd call for me 
at seven to take me to a new dance. I was ready 
and went with him. 

''You lucky dog/' he began. ''She's always 
talking about you and your playing; it'll be your 
own fault if you don't win her, and she's a seduc- 
tive little devil. I shouldn't be surprised if it 
was her first ""affair." Fancy a professional 
dancer a virgin — everything's possible in this 
mad world! And she certainly has what the 
French call 'the devil in her body.' 

I could not discuss her with him. The thought 
of seeing her quickened my blood and with beat- 
ing heart and glad eyes I went to my fate. 

Yet all the preliminaries were hateful to me. 
When we reached tho Concert Hall, the perform- 
ance had begun, so Goldescu took me round to the 
stage-door and went to her dressing-room as if it 
had been his own. 

"You know the way?'" I asked in sui-prise. 

"I should think so," he replied characteristi- 
cally. "I've paid to learn it in eveTj theatre » 
Vienna." 

I could have struck the dog in the face. 

44 



A MAD LOVE 



At his knock she opened — ''Come in'' — and in 
we went though she was not half dressed. 

''The days have seemed long," she said turning 
at once to me, "I have thought about vou a great 
deal." 

I, too, had thoup^ht about her; in fact I had 
hardly thought of ami:hing else. 

The stage bell sounded. 
\ "I must get ready," she said, "forgive me! 
You'll come back?" 

"I shall be dehghted! After the show?" I 
asked. 

"After my dance," she corrected, smiling. "I'll 
only need ten minutes to get rid of the grease 
paint and change: I'll grudge the minutes." 

She had voiced my very thought. "So shall 
I," I replied like an echo, and we went to our 
press seats in the front row. 

Marie's dance was announced as "A Joy 
Dance," and she appeared all in rose; but the 
skirt was short and the stuff was so thin and soft 
that it clung and drew attention to the beauties 
©f her figure in the most provocative way. My 
mouth parched while looking at her: I could 
scarcely draw breath and heavy pulses hammered 
m my temples. I was filled with a blind rage 
of jealousy; all these men seeing her nudity 
seemed ah outrage. 



A MAD LOVE 



"In the beginnintr dress was mere decoration,'* 
said Goldescu, ''and not clothing, we are told. 

Marioutza is a true primitive, eh?" 

I could not trust myself to speak. ''How 
could she? Why?" 

''I was all interrogation and reyolt; angry be- 
yond control. Yet even in my rage I recognisied 
that she was dancing marvellously; now like « 
lily swaying in water, now floating like thistle- 
down, seeming to rebound as lightly as she eamo 
to earth, and when the music quickened and db^ 
sprang from the stage, one really felt that sbe 
might go higher indefinitely — 
Like an unbodied joy 
Whose race has just begun. 

It all showed such a union of rare natural gifts 
and long assiduous practice as only an arti«t 
could appreciate. 

''She ended her dance by springing into ti^ 
wings and left us with the image of her willowy, 
slight figure outlined as distinctly as a figure on a 
Greek vase. 

We walked about for a few minutes and o» 
turning found her at the stage door. 

"What did you think of it?" she asked with the 
anxiety of the true artist. For the life of me I 
could not answer as I wanted to. 

46 



A MAD LOVE 



''I liked it, of course," I said, ''liked it im- 
mensely; but I preferred your love dance." 

''Really?" she cried in such chagrined disap- 
pointment that I had to mitigate the rebuff. "I 
mean, love is a greater theme than joy," I began, 
* 'don't you think — " 

Goldescu chose this moment to take his leave. 
"Don't let him cast you down!" he cried, "I've 
never seen you more entrancing: you're a mar- 
vel; but alas, I've something special on tonight," 
ke added. We let him go almost without no- 
ticing him. 

On our way to her rooms the girl enthralled 
me. She seemed to divine my secret thoughts 
and ni}^ jealousy vanished before her outspoken- 
ness. Our talk was confidential and intimate 
from the beginning. 

"Your playing the other night," she began, 
"was magical, but I was overwrought by it and — 
and — I wanted to meet you under better condi- 
tions: you understand?" 

Of course I understood. It was my own 
feeling. 

"I want you tp like my Joy Dance," she went 
on. "I wrote the music for it myself. Often as 
a girl the beauty of our river and woodland in 
summer and the song of the birds used to make 

47 



A MAD hOYE 



me weep for joy. Bucharest is so lovely and I 
wanted to render that beaut}' that's one with joy 
and delight. I've a pretty figure and I'm glad 
of it. We all love beauty; don't we?" 

I felt that I had been a brute. 

''I know, I understand," I cried, ''but I'm a 
man and had alreadj^ put you apart and above 
everyone and when j^ou showed j^our figure it 
made me jealous; it was petty of me." 

''Let me explain it to }^ou," she said with her 
childlike sincerity. "You know, we dancers look 
on our bodies as you do on your violui, as our in- 
strument. You love a fine one and know all its 
good points and so do we. How often we used 
to laugh at some girl with big shoulders and bust 
trying to learn to dance: she couldn't: the in- 
strument was not right." 

"But do you like exposing yourself?" I asked; 
all my innate prejudices coming to rationalize 
my jealousy. 

"I don't think of it in that wa^^" she replied; 
"I want to exnress a certain emotion: I try to do 
it as perfectly as I can; I never even think 
whether I am showing a few inches more or less 
of figure. ... Is that immodest of me? 
You know, I want you to know me as I am — my 
faults even. Others may take the grease paint 
for my complexionj I want you to see me as I 

48 



A MAD LOVE 



really am, heart and soul and all! . . .1 
think as a g'irl I was almost without modesty, in 
mind as in body. I used to picture and imagine 
all things to myself. I vvas dreadfully curious, 
longed to know this and that. The mind is im- 
moral, isn't it? or rather it has nothing to do v.ith 
morality?" And she looked up at me anxiously. 
I nodded and she went on: 

''jNIy mother used to be shocked at me. She 
was a Catholic and religious, and when she found 
me studying my figure in the glass (I often 
wanted to kiss it), she told me that I must be 
modest, and that the body was sinful. 

''I couldn't believe it. I don't now. I love the 
curve of my neck, and mj^ small breasts are lovely 
to me; and even my slender feet please me 
intimately." 

I was shaken with delight: she was clear as 
crystal with a woman's depth ar?d a woman's de- 
light in her beauty. I smiled and she continued : 

''Am I immodest? I don't think so. If there 
were anything ugly about me, I'd conceal it and 
be ashamed of it. I hate my legs because the 
muscles show; but I can't help that; it's part of 
my art and I'm not modest or immodest about 
them: I just recognize the fact — " 

"You dear!" I cried, "I've called modesty the 
fig-leaf of ugliness." 

49 



i 



A MAD LOVE 



"That's it, tliat's it," she crowed with delight; 
''that's the truth; the talk of the girls in the 
dance-classes I call immodest; but — 

''I like your strong, stern face," she broke off, 
"and the boy's eyes you have and j^our bronzed- 
fair skin pleases me. Why shouldn't I say so? 
But most of all, your genius, j^our wonderful 
playing, the divine spirit in you — " 

"You must hear me once at my best," I ex- 
claimed. "I'll play for you better than I've ever 
played. Let me see. On Friday I play at Prince 
Lichtenstein's. Would you come?" 

"Goldescu wants me to dance there," she said. 
"Suppose we both perform in public, yet just for 
each other?" 

"She was ravishing and her eyes held mine ; why 
were thev so beautiful to me? Was it the long 
dark lashes or the brown brook depths: I can't 
say. For the first time in my life I knew love. 
I could not help touching her hips as ^ye walked 
side by side; I was drunk with desire. I knew 
it was love I felt, love once for alL love that was 
deathless: this vras my mate, the strength of my 
feeling frightened me. I longed to take her in 
my arms; but refrained: though the ])assion of 
admiration I felt for her and her sacred boldness 
was clear enough, I'm sure, for now and again 
her eyes gave themselves to mine. 

50 



A MAD LOVE 



"At her door she held out her hand and though 
I wanted her hps I restrained mj^^self . I had had 
so much; I did not want to go in. I wanted to 
drink the divine cup httle by little and prolong 
the ecstasy. But I could not help putting my 
hands on her shoulders and looking deep into her 
eyes while I said : — auf Wiedersehen! Mein Alles! 

''Tin conscious I've remembered badly; given 
you no idea of her charm for me. 

"I went home as if on air, drunk with the hope 
that she loved me, crazy with desire sharpened 
by this and that picture of her slight fleeting 
girl's figure. 

''Next morning I awoke to find a letter from 
her begging me to send or bring her the music I 
had composed for her 'Love Dance' so that as she 
said 'even when dancing I may feel inspired by 
your spirit.' 

"I sat down at once and wrote out the music 
and took it to her apartment that same afternoon. 
It was the first time I had seen her in her frame, 
so to speak. The drawing-room w^as very simple; 
half a dozen photos of men and girl-friends ; three 
or four ])rints of famous dancers, all sent her by 
Goldescu she told me, and nothing more except 
a piano and th§ usual furniture. At first she 
seemed shy; her eyes withdrawn; her hands, I re- 
member, w^ere very^ cold, but her face was lovelier 

51 



A MAD LOVE 



than I had thoug^ht ; she grew on one ; surelr her 
eyes were larger than the night before. 

''She made me talk about myself and my tours, 
of Paris, and London and Madrid; 'people 
every^\ here much the same' was her comment. I 
had to tell her of my mother and father and my 
beginnings and all I hoped to be and do. 

''Then a samovar was brought in and we had 
tea and afterwards I went to the j)iano and 
played my 'liOve Dance' music for her and as I 
ended she put her hand on my shoulder and 1 
could not help putting my arm around her waist 
peeking to draw her to me. At first she yielded 
and I thought she was going to kiss me; but then 
she fifrew stiff and looked into my eyes ^nd 
smiled, shaking her head : 

'Touch hands and part with laughter. 
Touch lips and part with tears.' 
she chanted mischievously, the brown eyes alight. 
She pleased me so intimately that even her 
caprices were delightful. She wanted to try my 
music over before me; she played quite well I 
found, and then I had to play it again while she 
danced. 'Oh, I shall have a new effect!' she tri- 
umphed. You're a dear, dear magician!' she 
cried, and for a moment put her glowing cheek 
against mine. 

"I don't know why I record all this, but I waat 

52 



A MAD LOVE 



you to understand the full perfection of mj^ love. 
Whatever she did or refused to do pleased me; 
her boldness of s])eech and virginal shrinking 
from even a kiss delighted me equally. 

''That evening at Prince Lichtenstein's was a 
triumph. She danced divinely and I really think 
my music helped her. I am sure as she sank 
backward on the floor while the music throbbed 
with passion and sang with delight, no human 
figure had ever shown a more complete abandon- 
ment. 

''The audience went crazy; you know our Vien- 
nese and how they love to shovv^ their feelings. 
Well, I never saw anything like the enthusiasm 
displayed that night. I suppose there w^ere five 
hundred guests in the great ball-room; the best 
names in Austria, and they v/ere all entranced. 
They cheered and kissed their hands to her in wild 
admiration. 

"She came to me before them all wdth glowing 
cheeks. 

" 'O Master?' she cried, 'what music! I felt as 
if I were in your arms. Do you really love me? 
Can you? Are you sure?' " 

For a moment I was tongue-tied and thought- 
bound, too. 

"You know I love you," I heard myself say. 
And at once before them all she gave me her 

53 



A MAD LOVE 



lips, as if we had been alone. I adored her for 
her noble courage. 

'T.ove to ordinary people is the event of their 
lives ; but artists often have a ten-fold keener de- 
light. Suppose a sculptor suddenly finds in the 
woman he loves the most perfect model he has 
ever met ; his passion is extraordinarily sharpened. 
Suppose a woman has tried for years and years 
to dance better than anyone else and suddenly 
finds her powers intensified by a musician who 
gives her surprising melodies, her aesthetic ambi- 
tions are all realized beyond hope ; if she's inclined 
to love the musician you can easily see how her 
passion will be heightened. That's how I explain 
the bursting forth of ]Marie's love. As for me, 
well, from the beginning she had been to me per- 
fection perfected. At last I had found the ideal 
we all long for, and my very soul was ravished. 

''I looked up and the men and women were all 
smiling as I thought, malicioush^ or disdainfully 
(what were we to them after all but a musician 
and a dancing-girl?) I had an inspiration. Tak- 
ing her by the hand I led her over to Prince Lich- 
tenstein and bowing said: 'Prince, you have 
often been kind to me, but never so kind as to- 
night ; for in your house I have found my bride.'^ 

"Everyone applauded and shouted and Lich- 
tenstein swore they must celebrate the betrothal of 

54 



A MAD LOVE 



tbc two greatest artists in the world; and indeed 
we did celebrate it all night long for the early 
morning sunshine was gilding the house as the 
Prince took us to the door and sent us home in 
his State carriage with outriders, if you i)lease, 
and all his guests cheering on the steps. And 
even then he would not let us go till I had 
promised to celebrate the marriage in his palace. 

''I took my love to her rooms and she would 
have me go in with her; so I sent the carriage 
home and stayed. And there with shining great 
eyes she told me she had loved me from the first 
and only wanted to make me happy and as I 
kissed her holding her in my arms I was more 
than happy, drunk with pride and joy, delirious 
with desire. 

'*Xext w^eek my father and mother came to 
Vienna and I took a house and began to furnish 
it and Prince Lichtenstein sent me some pictures 
and others of the nobihty followed suit. The 
Gross-Herzog Rudolph, who called himself my 
first admirer, gave me the whole drawing-room 
furniture — pictures and all — from one of his 
palaces. 

''Our marriage was an event but the part I 
liked best was that mv mother had taken a great 
fancy to Marie and told me at the wedding she 
lioped to be a grandmother in a year. 

65 



A MAD LOVE 



''They say happiness has no histon^ and I 
found it true; I could tell you little or nothing 
of the next three years except that as I learned 
to know my wife's nature I loved her more and 
more. Positively she had no faults and a myriad 
high qualities, all set off by gaiety and sweet 
temper. 

''After the first season in Vienna I took her for 
a tour through Italy and the second year through 
Spain. We learned everything together, lan- 
guages and all. I found it easy with a fev/ per- 
formances each year to increase our fortune ; the 
only drawback to our joy was that we had no 
children, but neither of us missed anything; at 
least I certainly did not, and my wife assured me 
she was content. But she was always encourag- 
ing me to write an opera or an oratorio to show 
how great I was! The Passion of St. ]Matthew 
by Bach was her favorite: I ought to do a greater 
Oratorio ! I didn't want to face the work ; I was 
continually plagued by the idea of making first a 
new and scientific musical notation. I wanted to 
go to China and Japan and learn their music and 
then build up a music which should include theirs 
and be as effective in Pekin or Kyoto as in Paris 
or Vienna. ]Meanwhile I worked constantly in 
my own lazy way and made up my mind to spend 
the next summer in Shanghai. ]Marie consented. 

56 



A MAD LOVE 



**But that season in Vienna for some reason or 
other, perhaps to excite nn^ ambition, she took 
up her dancing again, and got Goldescu to get 
her engagements and play pubhcity manager. I 
wrote several new themes for her and she certain- 
ly embroidered them superbly. 

''I don't think our passion had lost its keen 
edge; I found ]Marie a wonderful mistress with 
an extraordinary congeniality of taste and de- 
sires. It was she who first taught me to love 
pictures. If I proposed to go into the Carpath- 
ians in mid-winter to hunt bear and wolves, or in 
summer to go to the Lido at Venice for a week's 
bathing she clapped her hands and crowed joyful 
acceptance. Xever was there such a joyous eager 
companion. 

''I often wondered what her own intimate wish 
was: had she desires apart from mine? 

''I had bought a little country place twenty or 
thirty miles from Vienna and I went there fre- 
quently, sometimes without her, to put it in order. 

''Once or twice I had been annoyed by her lik- 
ing for Goldescu; she always told me she had 
known him as boy and girl together, and had 
never even kissed him; his cynical effrontery, she 
insisted, disgusted her; but she had no good rea- 
son to give him up ; he was so serviceable ; she used 
him for this and for that and I believed her, I 

57 



A MAD LOVE 



would have believed whatever she chose to tell me. 
I was too happy even to work at my art, too 
happv to measure how happy I was when the 
blow 'fell. 

*'I had gone out to our country-place one Sat- 
urday and found the water-tank that supplied the 
bath-room had burst and overflowed everywhere. 
I wired to Vienna for skilled help and stayed to 
set them to work. I wrote my wife I should not 
be in Vienna before Wednesday or Thursday 
and returned on ^londay afternoon to get fifteen 
feet of piping that was urgently needed. I got 
the piping and saw that I had half an hour be- 
fore I could catch my train. Xaturally I drove 
to my home and went upstairs. The drawing- 
room door was ajar; hearing low voices I pushed 
it half open. On the sofa op])osite was my wife 
nestling in the corner and leaning over her half 
behind her was Goldescu. As I was about to 
speak he leaned forward, lifted up her chin and 
kissed her on the mouth. I was petrified ; literally 
unconscious that I drew the door to ; suddenly I 
found myself at the stair-head, yards away, shiv- 
ering with cold. Like a sleep-walker I passed 
do^^Ti into the hall, picked up the coil of piping, 
went out the front door, found a droshky and 
drove to the station — mechanically! 

'*I gave the coil of piping to the overseer, who 

58 



A MAD LOVE 



told me I must have caught a chill and following 
his advice I went to bed. He gave me a hot rmn. 
I fell asleep and four hours afterwards awoke to 
a tempest of rage and hate that altered my whole 
nature. 

''The rest can be told briefly. In the morning . 
I wired my lav/yer who was also my father's; I 
told him the truth and begged him to tell it to . 
my parents. I made over half of all I possessed I 
to my wife, asked the lawyer to tell her the truth 1 
if she pressed for it and that evening took train 
for Venice. Since then I have been a wanderer 
over the face of the globe. I buried myself for 
two years in China and think I know their music 
now and their languagre and the spirit of that 
great people as well. 

*'I Vv'ent all through Japan time and again and 
understand, I think, their music. 

''Eut I've never done anything: the truth is 
I've never recovered from the shock of that after- 
noon. I used to hate her when I thought of it; ^ 
often feared I should go mad with hate; but now 
I'm just cold to it all; it might have happened to] 
some one else for all I care ; but with my love I 
lost my love of life ; all the uses of living became 
state, flat and tedious to me. 

"Three months ago I returned to Austria after.| 
six years of wandering, and went down tc 

59 



A MAD LOVE 



Salzburcr. ]My father and mother have both died. 
I came to Vienna meaning* to make an end ; what 
was there for me to hve for? 

''You saved my hfe; for a brief space I've 
warmed mj^self with your inexhaustible strength 
and vigorous love of living, but it can't go 
on. . . . 

'' 'Everyone/ saj^s the Russian, 'gets tired of 
holding up an empty sack.' You'd get tired in 
time, my friend, or if you did not, you must feel 
that I am tired already : I have travelled the path 
before, knov/ ail the toils and triumphs of it and 
therefore it all says nothing to me — nothing ! I 
got the best of life too easily, too early^ I can't 
struggle; I won't; it's fat that floats," he added 
disdainfully. 

"Did vour wife never v/rite to you or seek to see 
you to explain?" I asked in amazement. 

"She wrote," he said, "and the lawyer forvvard- 
ed it; but I never read the letter; I would not re- 
open the wound; the cicatrice was painful 
enough; wlw should I let her torture me again?" 

"But you can't tell anything from the act," I 
insisted; "one might kiss and nothing more." 

He shrugged his shoulders, impatiently. 

"You haven't followed my story with full 
sympathy," he said. ... 

"Surely you know without my telling you, that 

60 



A MAD LOVE 



I went through all the tortures of hell. At first 
I wanted to go back and kill the Jew and when 
that madness left me the memorj^ of her beauty 
and her kisses drove me crazy. She had made me 
feel more intenseh^ than any one: her body was 
always before me, in its slim beauty; I'd see 
it, touch it, get drunk with the odor of it. A 
thousand times I said to myself: 

''I'll go back; what does it matter to me whom 
she kissed so long as she'll kiss me, give me the 
illusion of love. My body ached for her, man; a 
thousand times my mouth parched and desire 
choked me. 

''And my maimed, lost soul cried for her day 
and night incessantly. I was lonely always and 
missed her as the blind man misses his eyesight. 
Time and again I found myself in the 
train, once at least I got to Vienna and then went 
back. ... I could not face the ruins of 
such perfect happiness, such divine bliss. . . . 

"Don't think I blamed her! No, I quickly got 
over that. She may have kissed him, I said to 
myself for any one of a thousand reasons; the 
flesh is faithless in woman as in man; she may 
even have loved me best, nay, she must have loved 
me best, else why did she marry me and not him 
whom she had known all her life. 

"But the heart does not reason, my friend; it 

61 



A MAD LOA'E 



aches and contracts in agony, or it triumphs and 
grows big and joyful. iSIy heart bled and my 
life-blood drained away. Day and night I cried: 
'Why? why? Oh my^soul! Marie! why?' The 
pain choked me and I lived without living, with- 
out joy or hope or interest till gradually years 
later, away off there in China I found myself tak- 
ng a faint interest in music but my heart was 
dead and my interest in life was no longer liv- 
ing, vivid, but mere curiosity. . . 

"They say that cells in the body can outlive the 
body's death for years ; my music cells will outlive 
soul and body in me ; but the little corpse-light of 
life is not strong enough to do any good; I'm 
finished. . . 

''Are you answered, my friend?" 
"I understand," I said, '*but nevertheless," I per- 
sisted, "it's your duty to write a great piece of 
really new music, music that shall appeal to every 
human ear ; think man of the fame to be won ; im- 
mortal reputation as the Bahuhrecher, the Road- 
maker to a new Kingdom of the Spirit; you owe 
a debt to Humanity; pay it first; your life's not 
your own." 

"How often I've said the same thing to my- 
self," he began, slowly: "if you only knew how 
much I grew in those happy years. I had divined 
nearly everything I learned later in China; the 

62 



A MAD LOVE 



music of the future is clear to me from the tom- 
tom of the savage to — but I can't write, man; 
I can't; the love of my art is dead in me; she 
killed my very soul. 

''All the music I've played here for you is old, 
old stuff; it has all been memory music, every 
note of it. You surely know that you must be 
alive, intensely alive, before you can create any- 
thing! It's the life in you that you impart; I'm 
dead: the heart is cold in me; the soul a corpse. 
I can do nothing worth the doing — " 

''Don't say that," I protested; "think how 
much nobler your work will be if you do it with- 
out joy and without hope; but do it; make a be- 
ginning at least that the world will never for- 
get-" 

He shopk his head: "I can't. You will not 
understand ; the bad alone survives in me. What 
good would it do to picture a mad house or a wild 
beast's cage? Your Joachim Vvas right; art is 
there to cheer, encourage, console, warn even if 
you will; but never to horrify and disgust and 
discourage. And I see nothing but beasts, luna- 
tics, idiots; the posturing, gibbering apes are 
loathsome to me!" 

"Thanks for the compliment," I exclaimed, 
laughing; "but you don't dislike Xeumann or me, 
do you? Well, another concert or tvvo and you'll 

63 



A MAD LOVE 



find hundreds like us to love and admire you and 
our love will inspire you to do the new vrork." 

lie shook his head: ''What an optimist you 
are ! You see you had the knocks first, the train- 
ing first that hardened j^ou; I had the triumphs 
first that left me soft and weak." 

"At any rate give yourself tir.^c/' I pleaded; 
(10 nothing hastily; ..i^it go j.x at half-cock, as 
^se Americans say; another [numph or two will 
make a diflerence; you know the French proverb, 
Vappetii vievt eii via'ic:cr: nf; — the appetite 
grows with eating/' 

He i^niiled, '') owe you that, at least I won't 
do anything till I must," and forced therewith to 
be :onteni. I went off to consult with Neumann 
wliom I brought back with me to dinner. 

The second concert w^as a far greater triumph 
than the first ; all the best music-lovers in Vienna 
were there and prepared now^ to welcome a great 
master. As he stood bowdng on the platform at 
the end and the audience cheered and cheered and 
the women even came up in crowds to the stage, 
I made my way to the side-door that led behind 
the stage. As I got there a young woman ad- 
dressed me: 

''Are you Herr ?: then without v^aiting for 

an answer. "I am his wife: take me to him!" 

64 



A MAD L@VE 



''I would, so gladly/' I exclaimed, ''but is this 
the right moment?" 

She looked at me with wide frightened hazel 
eyes: ''What do you mean? I must see him, ex- 
plain. . . . My God, sj3eak man: will you 
take me to him?" 

She was quivering with excitement; she caught 
my arm in her hands as if I were about to evade 
her ; she was certainly very pretty ; I tried to i:)er- 
suade her for his sake. 

"I'll do whatever I can," I said impressively; 
"but now and here you won't get a chance of a 
quiet talk; he'll probably have left the place as 
he did last time before I can catch him; but he 
lives with me. I'll get you a good opportunity, 
Madam.e, where you can use all your persuasive- 
ness. I want you to succeed and save him, I 
promise you — " 

"Oh now, now/' she interrupted, "please, 
please, for God's sake. I've waited so long, all 
these wear}^ years, please," and the tears poured 
down her cheeks. 

"Come," I said, unable to resist, "wt'11 find 
him if we can," and hurriedh" I took her through 
the passage to the waiting-room, but Hagedorn 
had left "left two minutes before," as Xeumann 
told me looking intently at my companion. 

"Go to my rooms at once, Neumann," I cried, 

66 



A MA© L0VE 



''and if Ha^edorn is there keep him till we come 
or kee]) with him at least till you bring about a 
meeting. For the love of God don't lose sight of 
him till we all meet. If you don't understand, 
please believe I have good reason and don't tell 
Hagedorn I was with a lady; just say I must 
meet him! see!" 

''I understand," replied Xeumann, ''I'm off, 
and if he's not in your rooms I'll wait there for 
you. What a success, eh?" And the next mo- 
ment he was gone. 

''Xow," I said, ''^ladame, we can go quietly to 
my place: should we drive or walk; it's only ten 
minutes' drive?" 

''As you please," she replied quietly; so I took 
her outside and got into a fiacre w^ith her and 
gave my address. 

"Shall I explain to you?" she began as soon as 
we were alone, "I feel that you know the story, 
know it perhaps better than I do. Why did he 
leave me? Why didn't he answer my letters? It 
wasn't because of one kiss?" 

"I fear it was," was my answer; "I'm not de- 
fending him or accusing you; but that's what he 
says. He must have always been an idealist! 

"That's why I loved him," she cried, "but good 
God! how unjust, how cruel of him! I can hard- 
ly explain how it happened; perhaps j^ou w^on't 

66 



A MAD LOVE 



understand. We women do so much out of pit}'; 
for pity's sake. 

'M had told Goldescu that his cynical way of 
talking disgusted and pained me ; it did him harm 
too; he was growing coarser, v.orse. aixd I was so 
happy. I told him he must stop it or I'd have to 
cease seeing him. 

"He didn't speak for a little while and I 
tliought I had been hard on him. 

"Then he began in a strange passionate voice: 

" 'You blame me for being cynical; it's too 
mucii. I'm cynical because I was a fool, lost my 
chance, i^re you stone-blind? I might have won 
yoii^ V. as near it years ago and waited thinking 
you Vv ould come to me, waited too long and he 
v^^on you in an hour, that musiker! And now you 
blame me for being cvnical — vou! the cause of it! 

you!'" 

I was thunderstruck, shaken. 

" 'I'm sorry,' I muttered. We v/omen are al- 
vrays sorry for giving love-pain! ' 

" 'Don't be sorrj^' he cried, 'I couldn't stand 
tliat. I never meant to tell you; don't be sorry; 
I'm the only one should grieve, but say you for- 
give me.' " 

"Of course I forgive you," I cried. 

" 'I'll try to be better. We'll never talk of it 
again,' he said. 'One kiss of forgiveness,' and 

67 



A MAD LOVE 



before I thoiigiit he lifted my face and kissed 
me — a long kiss. 

''As soon as I felt how he was kissing me I 
])ulled away and started up hot with rage. 

"A poor comedy, I cried, ''but even you can 
only play it once with me," and I went to the 
door ; it was open. 

"Vaguely I v/ondered why; after Goldescu had 
gone I wondered but then forgot all about it till 
I got that awful letter from the lawyer. 

"I couldn't believe that; it seemed all too 
monstrous to me; it does now! Like a horrible 
nightmare turning sweet sleep to horror. 

"A thousand times I cried: 'Why should he 
leave me? Goldescu kissed me without my will; 
I was as if hypnotized; the next moment I 
stopped him; I've never seen him since; wouldn't 
see him ; I loved no one but my husband, no one, 
ever! Oh! oh!" And again the tears drowned 
her face and voice. 

I pitied her so that I could not help trying to 
console her: 

"Don't fear, please; it will all come right, it 
must" — the usual inanities. 

When we got upstairs ISTeumann met us: 

"He's not been home yet, but he's sure to come 
before dinner. You'll not forget you're both 
dining with me; this lady too, if she'll come.'^ 

68 



A MAD LOVE 



'*Wc may be late," I said, ''but we'll come if 
possible." 

Neumann took the hint and left. 

As soon as we were alone Madame Hagedom 
began to fidget. ''I feel misfortune in the air," she 
repeated. . . . ''You know I feel sure if I 
can talk to him, I can convince him that my love 
never changed. And then I'll love him so, he'll 
have to love me again. Don't you think so?" 

Then she began again graming and grieving: 
*'I've been so unhappy, and now so fearful; are 
you sure he's not been here; is this where he 
sleeps?" And she pointed to my sofa-bed. 

*'No, no," I replied, "he occupies the bedroom 
in there," and I motioned to the door. 

"Let's go in and see if he's been in," she cried. 

I wentjirst and opened the door; the bed, the 
chairs, iiis clothes — all in the usual order. "You 
see," I said, turning to her, "he's not been here"; 
but even as I spoke she pointed to the head of the 
bed and there on the pillow was a sheet of paper 
pinned : 

"I took it and read : 

69 



A MAD LOVE 



^'I knew she was in the hall; I felt her prcsenee; 
I sai& her speaking to you; I fled. 

''Ifs no use, man, I will not renew the intol- 
erable anguish: I dare not, I prefer to — Good- 
hye. You did all that could he done. . . . 
I forgive, hut there is only one way to forget- 

'"E. fir/' 




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